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Daily News - Friday, 06 June 2014

President Medina inaugurates more schools
President Danilo Medina continued the brisk pace of school inaugurations as he cut symbolic ribbons for nine more new or remodeled schools in Puerto Plata yesterday, Thursday 5 June. He opened schools in the communities of El Javillar, Luperon, Villa Isabela, Llanos de Perez and Vista Alegre. Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo said that the program has provided Puerto Plata with 17 new schools so far, and that 40 schools and three childcare facilities are under construction in the province. He concluded by saying that the ministry was also improving access to these schools by repairing nearly two kilometers of roads.

President asks media to help with 911 service
President Danilo Medina has called on the media to help the government raise public awareness of the proper use of the National of Emergencies and Security System, or 911. He stated that prank calls affected their rapid response to genuine cases. Interviewed during an event commemorating World Environment Day in La Victoria yesterday, Thursday 5 June, President Medina told the media: "You should help us, help the public so that this stops."

According to National Emergencies and Security System Bulletin #2, the service has received 61,505 prank calls out of a total number of 84,404 calls made, after just four days of operation.

On the very positive side, news sources say that it is proving effective in reducing domestic violence. Since the installation of the 911 emergency system in the Greater Santo Domingo area last week, 94 men have been arrested on domestic violence charges. Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said that 72 of these cases were registered in the province of Santo Domingo and the other 22 in the National District. Dominguez Brito told El Caribe that "the average monthly number of cases related to violence against women is between 280 and 300. Nevertheless in just this jurisdiction in barely five days of the 911 operation they registered 72 arrests in this category." The AG told reporters that their "Angry man, arrested man" policy would continue. The system allows onlookers and third parties to call in to report domestic violence they may overhear or witness.

Lack of documentation hinders normalization of Haitians
The lack of identification documents is the main stumbling block preventing many Haitian applicants from completing the process for the National Foreigner Legalization Plan, a program that complies with Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13. In its first three days of application, more than 6,000 people have applied to regularize their resident status.

"Everyone who has come in receives information from us, said Legalization Plan director Samir Santos. He added that they are told which documents they need to submit in order to start the process.

According to Santos, when an applicant comes with missing documents, they are nonetheless issued a document with their general information, their photograph and all their biometric details, to show that they have begun the process.

For status legalization, applicants must be able to provide documentation that includes identity from their country of origin, proof of salary payments, employee ID card, rental contract, certification of being a student in the Dominican Republic, and a bank account.

www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/06/06/i643221_falta-documentos-impide-haitianos-completar-inscripcin-plan-regularizacin.html

JCE reports half a million have new cedulas
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) reported on Thursday, 5 June that over 536,000 people have received their new cedulas - that all-important identification and voter registration card legally required of everyone in the Dominican Republic. The JCE said that they have improved their system and are now better able to deal with people who go to exchange their old ID cards for the new ones. The system is also faster in handling cases where personal information needs to be changed, such marital status or place of residence.

According to JCE spokesman Felix Reyna, the election agency has now set up an additional station for receiving general information and there are now two stations for obtaining general information for each biometric station, and processing has improved by 50%. He said over 25,000 people a day are being served at centers nationwide. An estimated seven million people need to have the new cards in time for the 2016 national election.

DR pays Cogentrix millions for nothing
The Dominican government is considering whether to continue paying US$4.8 million a month to the Cogentrix power plant that has been shut down for eight years, or whether it accepts the conversion of the generator, which works on fuel oil, to natural gas, in order to be able to start it without its price being too high for the public. "Those US$4.8 million were a minimum commitment for the investors to come in here and even not using it, you have to pay anyway," he stated. But the problem of this conversion for the state is that Cogentrix, in order to switch to natural gas, is demanding a 20-year contract with the government, which could include the eight years to go on the present contract or a guarantee for the natural gas supplier of US$4 billion.

The head of the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) Ruben Jimenez Bichara met with media editors to explain the situation. He said a contract guaranteeing the purchase of natural gas for the 20-year period is also necessary to guarantee the supply.

He said that the state has preferred Cogentrix be turned off. He explained that when it enters into service, it is at a very high price, and all the other plants acquire the same price and it becomes costly for the state to have it working.

www.diariolibre.com/destacada/2014/06/06/i642691_gobierno-paga-us4-millones-mes-cogentrix-cambio-nada.html

Adopi says hotels can show FIFA games without charge
The Dominican Intellectual Property Association (Adopi) has issued a press release stating that hotels, restaurants and colmados that want to show FIFA World Cup games for their customers are free to do so without paying the fees charged by Pio Deportes. Pio Deportes says that it has the legal rights to the transmission of games. Adopi says that if the businesses charge customers a fee to see the games, the payment needs to be made to the Telemicro and Digital 15 that have the legal rights to transmit the games.

Pio Deportes argues that International Media Content, a company based in Castries, St. Lucia, gave them the exclusive television broadcast rights to the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the Dominican Republic on 10 April 2014. According to the agreement, Pio Deportes says they are the only company authorized to broadcast the World Cup or companies that are authorized by them. Pio Deportes did not publish information on the FIFA authorization of International Media Content to act on their behalf.

www.diariolibre.com/futbol/2014/06/06/i642921_adopi-hay-que-pagar-para-mundial.html

Neither Quique nor Selman; AIRD wants professionals in Bandex
The Dominican Republic Association of Industries of (AIRD) has asked Congress for the Dominican Export Bank (Bandex) "to be led by independent people who are close to the export sector." Although the association did not mention them by name, this request suggests that neither Federico Antun Batlle, the current manager of the National Housing Bank (BNV), and the president of the PRSC, nor Eduardo Selman, the chairman of the bank's board of directors and a member of the PLD's Political Committee should continue in the new export bank. The politicians are not known for their links to the export sector. Regardless, AIRD president Ligia Bonetti has asked legislators to approve the bill aimed at creating Bandex, "since this has been a request of the export sector for many years."

Nevertheless, before it is approved, she believes that the legislators should remove the section that requires that 10% of state pension funds should be deposited in the new bank. "The AIRD does not agree with the obligatory depositing of pension funds in BANDEX. The pension funds should be preserved and handled depending on the earnings that the market offers," she said. Bandex should be managed "based on technical criteria outside of political influences" and with the necessary vigilance of the public and private sectors, stressed Bonetti. Therefore, "we ask for this bill to be partially modified and approved without delay," stated the industrial sector leader.

www.diariolibre.com/economia/2014/06/06/i642731_quique-antn-selman-bandex-dicen-industriales.html

Roman tape tells of refusing to pay for botched killing
The shocking recording played in the courtroom on Wednesday, 4 June during the trial of the two men who tried to kill Jordi Veras, was ordered by the hit men themselves as a way to pressure Adriano Roman into paying the RD$1.3 million he was refusing to pay because the murder attempt failed, as reported in Diario Libre. Roman had paid RD$200,000 upfront. In the taped conversation between Roman and his friend Franklin Reynoso, the latter urges the payment of the money, with the guarantee that "my boys are going to wipe out that Jordi." Diario Libre had access to the following testimony from a source close to the investigation:

"Knowing Engels Carela Castro (who was in the Rafey Prison at the time), who Adriano Roman liked to order things done, he says to Franklin Reynoso, who Adriano had as a friend, that he should offer his friend the services needed to take care of any of his enemies; Franklin tells this to Adriano and he says that he wants to eliminate Jordi Veras; Franklin tells Engels and he tells his brother Francisco Carela Castro, who suggests doing the job for two million pesos; Adriano does not like that sum and asks for a reduction, and they reach an agreement to kill Jordi for a million and a half, with the crime to be committed on 16 May 2010, with an initial payment of RD$200,000, but in view of the fact that this was the day of the national elections and that there was a large number of police and military agents on the streets of Santiago, the crime could not be committed on that date. Two weeks later, on 2 June, the criminal attempt did not come off as planned.

"Given this situation, Adriano haggles over the remaining payment; then Francisco Carela gives his brother Engels an iPod in order to give it to Franklin and get Adriano to talk about the murder plot and to tape the conversation."

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/06/06/i642951_grabacin-adriano-romn-fue-por-negativa-completar-pago.html

Little markets near universities reopened
The District Attorney for the National District, Yeni Berenice Reynoso and the Chief of the National Police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, have announced the partial reopening of thirteen minimarkets (colmados) that had been closed down near universities. Reynoso said that they were "partially" reopened because they also sold food supplies, "but we are working on the issue of the alcoholic beverages and the music." She said that they had been allowed to reopen because they sold food and were not exclusively places for selling alcohol. El Caribe reported that this program of closures of stores selling alcoholic beverages near universities would continue.

Mountain bike riders to Survivor DR
Registration was closed in less than 14 hours after it opened, Diario Libre reports. Survivor DR is an extreme mountain biking event that will take bikers on an unknown route through the hills of El Pedregal, Villa Altagracia, Villa Mella and Yamasa from 14-15 June. Only 30% of those who began the designated route in the previous five versions of the race have completed the trek. A total of 330 cyclists in 110 teams will be taking on the challenge.

The route starts and ends in El Pedregal, behind the La Isabela International Airport in northern Santo Domingo. The route is divided in two days. Some 30 kilometers will be covered on the first day, 14 June, followed by another 100 on the second day, 15 June. Organizer David Fernandez says that mountain bikers from Costa Rica and Colombia will be taking part. He said that Dominican cycling champion Wendy Cruz would be competing, as well as Karim Mella, the first Dominican to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The categories are master and mixed (including at least one woman).

http://www.survivordr.do

Oliver! - the musical at the National Theater
JAM Academy presents the British musical Oliver! based on the Charles Dickens classic novel Oliver Twist at the National Theater in Santo Domingo starting today, Friday, 6 June at the National Theater. The performances will continue on Saturday and Sunday.

As it seeks to attract a younger audience, the show will be staged at 7:30pm, an hour earlier than the usual 8:30pm time at the National Theater. This is a production by Elizabeth Lenhart. Megan Sanchez will play the part of Oliver. Other key actors are Annabelle Aquino (the Artful Dodger), Joaquin Ruiz (Fagin) and Francesca Yarull/Laura Pernas (Nancy).

Maestro Dante Cucurullo is responsible for the music.

For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
 

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